As We Travel » Asia http://www.aswetravel.com Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog Thu, 18 Dec 2014 01:52:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Experience Mysterious Thailand with a Local http://www.aswetravel.com/experience-mysterious-thailand-local/ http://www.aswetravel.com/experience-mysterious-thailand-local/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:56:21 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=48990 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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In some destinations, it’s best to do things strictly by the book. A person could visit Los Angeles, for instance, using a reputable guidebook and could have a perfectly acceptable experience. They’d hit all the highlights of the area and probably avoid some of the grittier neighborhoods.  However, other destinations (Traveling to Thailand) definitely deserve […]

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In some destinations, it’s best to do things strictly by the book. A person could visit Los Angeles, for instance, using a reputable guidebook and could have a perfectly acceptable experience. They’d hit all the highlights of the area and probably avoid some of the grittier neighborhoods.  However, other destinations (Traveling to Thailand) definitely deserve to be explored in a manner that’s more off the beaten path. A little unscripted wandering in these places means being able to interact meaningfully with local people and to experience their culture in a way that simply can’t be achieved when a traveler is chained to a guidebook.

Mysterious Thailand

One of these places is Mysterious Thailand. It’s an ancient, majestic and mysterious place that’s worthy of years of exploration. Unfortunately, most people who visit here don’t have tons of time to really absorb the local flavor. While a guidebook might be enough for the casual visitor, someone who wants to really delve into the depth and complexity of Thai culture won’t be satisfied with that experience.  As with any foreign civilization, the best way to view it is with the assistance of a local. Someone who has grown up with and is fully immersed in the Thai culture can open doors for the tourist who wants to go beyond the well-known temples and palaces. It makes for an intimate, highly personalized experience the likes of which would be virtually impossible to duplicate without having a local friend or two.

Mysterious Thailand

Mysterious Thailand

Fortunately, the Withlocals website makes connecting to local experts a breeze. It makes one-of-a-kind experiences a reality in a way that just wouldn’t happen otherwise. Imagine being able to dine in a private home, enjoying authentic Thai dishes that were prepared by a host who has been learning to craft traditional meals since childhood. It’s definitely not the kind of evening that would happen in even the finest restaurant in the nation.

Travelers visiting mysterious Thailand can go way beyond the major attractions with the assistance of a local guide. Hosts can arrange for a vast array of experiences. Depending upon their specialty and interests, a host might provide a lesson in Muay Thai, the nation’s style of martial arts. Others offer cooking lessons, tours of the local marketplace, or provide insider tips on how to get the best deals on locally made wares.

Hosts are friendly and accommodating, which makes it easy to arrange for a tour, activity or meal. There’s simply no substitute for being able to visit a temple or museum with someone who can bring the local perspective to the adventure. By sharing their thoughts and memories, hosts bring the Thai culture to life in a particularly personal way. They help visitors to understand not only what the Thai lifestyle is, but also why and how it has evolved the way it has.

Hosts on WithLocals.com are fully vetted, so visitors can rest assured that their experience will be safe and memorable for all the right reasons. More than one tourist has made a lifelong friend by using this service. It’s possible to arrange for a tour or other activity well in advance, but sometimes the hosts can be quite flexible when it comes to accommodating last minute requests.

Each experience is unique, and it is often possible to make special requests that the host is willing to tailor to the taste of the visitor. For instance, enjoying a home cooked meal with a local family is one of the most asked for experiences. The visitor may arrange for their own transportation, but in many cases the host provides a knowledgeable escort who can see them safely to the home of their host. Visitors are immediately put at ease by a warm and gracious welcome, and special dietary requests are respected. Each individual is treated like an honored guest and can expect to enjoy the finest Thai style hospitality. For many visitors, it is these unique, one-of-a-kind experiences that become the most memorable part of their visit.

Tourists may also arrange to observe some of Thailand’s most interesting festivals with a local host. Songkran, or the New Year’s Day celebration, is particularly popular. Many people also choose to visit on Ghost Day, traditionally known as Pi Tha Khon. Unique Thai festivals take on far more significance with a local guide. It’s a wonderful way for visitors to understand the meaning behind the celebrations and better appreciate the traditions and legends that are incorporated into each.

While there are a number of reputable, well-written travel guides on the market, none of them can truly compare with having the guidance of a local insider. No book can possibly contain information on every attraction, festival and restaurant in Thailand. That’s why a local friend is so indispensable. With their assistance, greater understanding and appreciation is possible. It turns an interesting experience into a remarkable one, and mysterious Thailand definitely deserves to be appreciated in all of its complexity.

 

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15 Most Awesome Destinations in Asia You Cannot Ignore http://www.aswetravel.com/15-most-awesome-destinations-in-asia-you-cannot-ignore/ http://www.aswetravel.com/15-most-awesome-destinations-in-asia-you-cannot-ignore/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 21:08:40 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=48531 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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15 Most Awesome Destinations in Asia: 1.     Bangkok, Thailand Floating markets, golden palaces and porcelain-laid spires all seem to transport you to a different era and place. Consisting of 50 districts, you can head up to Siam or Pratunam Square for premium shopping or go visit Khao San Road, offering a line of food stalls, […]

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15 Most Awesome Destinations in Asia:

Destinations in Asia

Destinations in Asia

1.     Bangkok, Thailand

Floating markets, golden palaces and porcelain-laid spires all seem to transport you to a different era and place. Consisting of 50 districts, you can head up to Siam or Pratunam Square for premium shopping or go visit Khao San Road, offering a line of food stalls, clothing stores or opt for spa and Thai massage.

2.     Tokyo, Japan

A unique mix of tradition and pop culture. Start your morning on a refreshing note with a walk along the Sumida River’s cherry blossom trees. Take a quick glance at history with the Edo-Tokyo museum or go spend some time in the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace.

3.     Siem Riep, Cambodia

The overgrown temples and ruins of Angkor Wat, bathed in morning sunlight, truly mesmerize you. The royal city of Angkor Thom is one of the main attractions of Siem Rieo, along with Cambodian Cultural Village and Angkor Night market.

4.     Chiang Mai, Thailand

The city’s hustling, bustling Night Bazaar is one of the many tourist attractions. Equally enchanting, however are the National Museum and Botanic Garden, soaking you in the sweet smell of Thai orchids. The city contains over 30 temples.

5.     Hong Kong, China

Unique features? Floating islands, skyscrapers, traditional Chinese architecture, scrumptious dim sum and the serene hills of Nan Lian Garden.

6.     Singapore, Singapore

A myriad of tall-standing modern skyscrapers defines Singapore’s cityscape. If you are a horticulture lover, you might love Gardens by the Bay and Botanic Gardens. The observation deck of Sands SkyPark makes you feel truly on the sky.

7.     Kyoto, Japan

The city’s shrines are a testament to its ancient past. From the 6th century Shimogamo Shrine to the life-sized Thousand Armed Kannon statues of Sanjūsangen-dō, Kyoto offers you a unique walk down its past.

8.     Bali

Let the iconic island sweep you off your feet with its tranquil beaches and exotic, food and drinks. Experience the underwater world while scuba diving.

9.     Ubud, Indonesia

One of the top spa destinations in Asia, try the famous Balinese massage in the village cluster of Ubud. Reflexology, aromatherapy and acupressure are some of the massage treatments. Also, have a look at the tomb cloisters at Gunung Kawi.

10.  Taipei, Taiwan

The city is dotted with restaurants offering you cheap but delicious Taiwanese specialties. The cuisines on offer are regional cuisines from China, India, Japan and even Italy.

11.  New Delhi, India

The mystic city of New Delhi fascinates tourists with its 17th century Red Fort, the Chandni Chowk bazaar, Jantar Mantar and the India Gate.

12.  Hoi An, Vietnam

The city offers you glimpses into its history as a Southeast Asian trading port, from the 15th-19th centuries. Some attractions are the Quan Cong Temple and the Japanese Covered Bridge.

13.  Jaipur, India

Nicknamed ‘The Pink City’, Jaipur’s streets are lined with glorious stucco buildings. Places to visit include Hawa Mahal, City Palace and Amber and Jaigarh forts.

14.  Goa, India

Famous for its sandy coast, Old Goa houses the beautiful Basilica of Bom Jesus, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

15.  Halong Bay, Vietnam

Rent a junk boat or kayak and explore rock formations, limestone islands and caves sprawled across the Halong Bay.

Checkout our article on Thailand Medical Tourism

 

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Bamboo Forest Japan A Place Worth Visiting! http://www.aswetravel.com/bamboo-forest-japan-place-worth-visiting/ http://www.aswetravel.com/bamboo-forest-japan-place-worth-visiting/#comments Tue, 20 May 2014 13:03:06 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=48071 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Planning to visit Kyoto? If so, the Bamboo Forest Japan is a must stop. It may be that you have not planned your trip yet, but you can definitely bring your travel experience to a new dimension if you plan for it wisely. So, when you see that the clouds in Kyoto have finally parted, it […]

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Planning to visit Kyoto? If so, the Bamboo Forest Japan is a must stop. It may be that you have not planned your trip yet, but you can definitely bring your travel experience to a new dimension if you plan for it wisely. So, when you see that the clouds in Kyoto have finally parted, it means that it is the right time to explore the destination many tourists love to choose: The Bamboo Forest of Japan.

Bamboo Forest Japan

Bamboo Forest Japan

You can see the bamboo forest situated in Arashiyama’s small town. This indicates that it is just twenty-five minutes away from the downtown Kyoto. So, if you plan to visit Tokyo, all you need to do is to catch a high-speed train, and take a short ride to Kyoto. In two hours or so, you will see yourself in the enchanting Bamboo forest Japan. Once you are there, your journey begins!

Here is the essential information you should have while traveling around the Bamboo forest Japan.
Bamboo Forest Japan

The Weather

Though the scenery of bamboos planted all around the forest is amazing, there still is something you should consider seriously, i.e. the weather. Just because the weather of Kyoto is quite unpredictable, you should be well aware that it can rain anytime. However, the good thing is that you do not have to see a crowd of tourists while you enjoy traveling.

Doing The Packing Appropriately

Now that you have learned about the weather, you are required to pack smartly. Guides mostly suggest tourists to get hold of waterproof boots, scarf, rain jacket, as well as one of the compact umbrellas so that you can carry it in your bag.

The Bamboo Forest Japan Experience

If you are visiting Bamboo Forest Japan for the first time, then you will surely be amazed to see how tall those bamboos are! In simple words, the site seems peaceful and majestic. Walking through the paths is another way to enjoy the tremendous sight of bamboos planted all around you. And yes, these paths have been paved.

Finding A Restaurant While Traveling Around

When it comes to searching for a good place to eat and relax, there are two options:

  1. Find a place which is crowded with locals
  2. Avoid places that have a hostess or promoter trying to get tourists into a trap

One of the best places to visit is Seisyuuan. Along with offering the beautiful view of a river, you can explore where the oldest bridge of the town is.
Boiled Tofu, Bamboo Forest Japan

Try The Boiled Tofu!

While you roam around Arashiyama, do not forget to eat boiled tofu. As one of the specialties of this place, you can try it with a combination of meal. Usually, something worth noticing is the boiling water pot filled with delicious tofu brought on your dining table. Though this is considered the simplest meal you can have after enjoying the sights of Bamboo Forest Japan, many tourists find it equally delicious.

The Foot Bath At The Arashiyama Station

The best way to end your day is to look for a warm foot bath. So, when you have walked a lot on the paths of Bamboo Forest Japan this foot bath will help you say good-bye to the foot pain, fatigue, and stress.

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Amazing Thailand Luxury Trip http://www.aswetravel.com/amazing-thailand-luxury-trip/ http://www.aswetravel.com/amazing-thailand-luxury-trip/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 22:05:03 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=46729 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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By Oliver Todd Thailand Luxury Trip Thailand Luxury Trip travel agents Kenwood Travel have over 35 years of experience in tailor-making amazing holidays bespoke to their customers’ needs. Central to this service is their ability to provide first-hand knowledge of the destinations they serve. Last year the Kenwood team traveled far and wide visiting the […]

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Thailand Luxury Trip
By Oliver Todd

Thailand Luxury Trip

Thailand Luxury Trip travel agents Kenwood Travel have over 35 years of experience in tailor-making amazing holidays bespoke to their customers’ needs. Central to this service is their ability to provide first-hand knowledge of the destinations they serve.

Last year the Kenwood team traveled far and wide visiting the crème de la crème of luxury locations including Mauritius, Las Vegas, Dubai, Granada and Barbados. Gaining valuable expertise and appreciation of these places, which can be passed on to customers in a uniquely personal way, is all part of the process at Kenwood Travel. These intrepid experts even squeezed in a bit of fun along the way too.

One travel consultant who embodies this spirit is Matt Hall. As one of Kenwood Travel’s Far East team, he was invited on a journey to Thailand to experience the best of the ‘land of smiles.’ He documented his Thailand Luxury Trip on video, which you can see here, and I thought it might be a good idea to ask him a few questions to accompany the film.

I started by asking him the obvious: Which of the places he visited were his favorite? It seems he found the question a little taxing at first. “Choosing my favorite place in Thailand is like choosing my favorite brother – they all have their good bits!” Feeling the pressure slightly, he finally decided upon the general area of Krabi as his number one locale. “Krabi really symbolizes Thai beach life,” he told me. “It’s the little things, like how the hotels agree not to bombard beaches with sun-beds, so they always look their natural, uncluttered best.” Matt went on to describe the incredible views that some of Krabi’s beaches afford, noting eloquently how “…hundreds of sheer limestone cliff-islands jolt sporadically and spectacularly from the turquoise waters.” Even more sensational views come at sunset and many of the beaches provide cozy beanbags in which to recline as you savor an exotic cocktail. Matt highlighted Tubkaak Resort as a good example of this. To summarize, he explained that Krabi is an all-round idyllic holiday destination that offers boat trips, trekking and diving, and while in the town, world-class shopping and dining can be found.

Saroijin Resort

Coming in at a close second for this Thailand Luxury Trip was Khao Lak. As a quieter and more laid back beach town, its untouched pristine beaches were particularly special for him. The area had to be extensively rebuilt after the tsunami in 2004 and Matt heard some stories that will stay with him forever. One such story featured the amazing Saroijin Resort. After the disaster, the owners stayed when the other hotels in the area left. They helped the local community rebuild and assisted in securing pipelines and infrastructure. As such the owners are deservedly held in high regard in Thailand. Matt was honored to stay at the resort. These heart-warming tales were told by the hotel’s ‘Imagineer’ who is on hand to help guests in any way – from setting up a dinner proposal on a remote beach, to spending an afternoon shipwrecked on a deserted island.

Ritz Carlton Phulay Bay

Matt’s favorite hotel proved to be another tough question: “Near impossible to answer.” He said the reason for his ambivalence was the sheer variety of hotels on offer in Thailand. Some are grand, opulent affairs like the “unbelievable” Ritz Carlton Phulay Bay (featured in the film Hangover 3, no less!), which provides four metre-long beds and “mind-blowingly extravagant rooms.” Others, like the aforementioned Tubkaak, have a more intimate, boutique appeal. The Rayavadee and Centara Grand Krabi are totally unique due to a combination of their accommodation style and setting – hidden away on sequestered beaches surrounded by limestone cliffs. In Khao Lak, Thailand’s leading architects got together to design Casa De La Flora – a property, Matt said, that is “… even more unique; ultra stylish and modern.”

The Shore Katathani

Pushed for an answer as to his ultimate favorite hotel, he eventually decided upon The Shore by Katathani. He enjoyed being able to amble along Kata beach to the little restaurants, shops, massage parlors and bars, and a short taxi ride took him to Patong and its vibrant nightlife. The beach at the Shore is “one of the best” and its pool villas are in Matt’s top three room-types of all time. He went on to describe the comfort, service, cuisine and location as first class. Certainly sounds like it ticked all the boxes.

Six Senses Koh Yao Noi

Elsewhere he loved his stay at Six Senses in Koh Yao Noi. This resort is eco-friendly and boasts spectacular sea views from the Hilltop Reserve infinity pool and bar. There’s a palpable “Robinson Crusoe” atmosphere to the place, and it boasts some unique extras, like 24-hour homemade Gelato ice cream.

I mentioned to Matt how much fun it must be to travel by boat in Thailand, being able to gain new perspectives on the stunning scenery. He was quick to agree. Arriving at the Rayavadee in Krabi, the Centara Grand Krabi, and the beautifully remote islands of Koh Phi Phi or Koh Yai Noi, was amazing: “Arriving by boat really gives you that sense of freedom from the rat race back home.” He also confessed that it’s a great way to top up the tan! Many resorts in the area offer transfers on private speedboats and very often have private jetties on the mainland to take clients to and from the islands.

Thailand Luxury Trip

Thailand Luxury Trip

It could be argued that, following films such as ‘The Beach,’ Thailand suffered a reputation for attracting too many gap-year backpackers. Some detractors were quick to stamp it with the ‘tourist trap’ label. Finally, I asked Matt whether he experienced any of this while he was there. He explained that Phuket is the busiest tourist hotspot so you have to expect other travelers and backpackers. His advice is to choose your locations carefully and recommends calling Kenwood Travel to speak to either himself or one of his colleagues to plan your Thailand Luxury Trip. They’ll be able to gauge what type of holiday you’re looking for, and place you in the ideal resort. “If you want busy, you can have busy. If you want off-the-beaten-track barefoot luxury, then places like Zeavola offer this,” he said. Knowing where to go helps, as you can even find empty beaches in Phuket. You may encounter backpacking revelers in Ao Nang in Krabi and in several spots in Phuket, but, generally, Kenwood resorts are all on separate beaches and again, he said: “Just ensure you tell us what you want and we can deliver.”

Oliver Todd is a travel writer living in London. He writes for the blog at Kenwood Travel.

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Getting Wet in the Wettest Place on Earth: Cherrapunjee http://www.aswetravel.com/getting-wet-wettest-place-earth-cherrapunjee/ http://www.aswetravel.com/getting-wet-wettest-place-earth-cherrapunjee/#comments Fri, 03 Jan 2014 14:14:02 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=46453 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Getting Wet in the wettest place on Earth: Cherrapunjee Being soaked alone is cold. Being soaked with your best friend is an adventure. As another weekend of travel with Nids and Dris came to an end, I am reminded of these very lines from Emily Wing Smith. Three days of trekking around the gorgeous hills and […]

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Getting Wet in the wettest place on Earth: Cherrapunjee

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Being soaked alone is cold. Being soaked with your best friend is an adventure.

As another weekend of travel with Nids and Dris came to an end, I am reminded of these very lines from Emily Wing Smith. Three days of trekking around the gorgeous hills and valleys of this village, drenched in the fury of the Cherrapunjee rain is an apt reminder to why this land is known as the wettest place on earth.

And had it not been for the good company my best friend, I would have not been able to experience the panoramic beauty of the deep gorges and roaring yet amazing waterfalls of Cherrapunjee.

The facts first

  • To reach Cherrapunjee or Sohra as it is locally known, you need to first take a flight to Shillong, the capital of Meghalya, situated in the north-east part of India. A 90 minute drive after than through the scenic roads of Shillong is all you need to reach this part of world.
  • For tourists, the best time to visit for all the outdoor and adventure activities would be in the winter season between the month of November and February.
  • Standing 486,9 ft above sea level, it receives rains for eight months between March and October with 50% of it pouring in June and July. November to February it is completely dry.
  • In Between 1973-2012 (40 years), the average rainfall at Cherrapunjee stood at 11,859.4mm or 39.90 feet or 466.90 inches. That’s close to  4 story tall building

The fun part

Our heart was set to travel in the month of June to witness and experience the rain gods at their best. However, detractors advised us against it and wanted us to travel during the winters like everyone else.

For anyone like them, we have only a few words to say.

“What fun is to visit the wettest place on earth in the driest month of the year? Come and experience nature’s beauty by getting soaked in the glorious rain of Cherrapunjee”

So off we went packed with our raincoats and precautionary meds just in case of an emergency.

What not to Miss

Nohkalikai Falls

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Words cannot justify my experience of the Nhkalikai falls. On the first day of our visit a naughty set of clouds decided to not let us witness one of the longest drops in world (1100 ft height). Luckily on the second day we laid our eyes on one of the most spectacular falls in this region.

Do not forget to ask the locals for the story attached to Nokhalikai Falls

“Splendid”

Nohsngithiang Falls

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The seven sister waterfalls as it’s fondly called, is about 20 kms from Sohra. Stay a night here and be mesmerized by the rains playing with the clouds at your feet and feel the calmness of the falls standing right under it to transport your soul to a heavenly abode.

“Captivating Beauty” 

Dain-Thlen Falls

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A great place to visit especially during the monsoon, there is a legendary story attached to it. Find the story yourself and explore the nature’s love for all things on this planet

Nature’s Canvas”

Mawsmai Cave

When it’s about caves, it’s always fun. In Mawsmai caves control your excitement, mind your head and wear your shoes to navigate through the low passages of the cave. Discover the various contours of the cave and feel every bit of it’s narrow lanes.

“Fun”

There are dozens of other things to do and see in Cherrapunjee which I will leave up-to you to discover and experience it just like we did.

However I have saved the best for the last, the unique and one of a kind Living Root Bridge of Cherrapunjee.

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Living Root Bridges

The one thing you should not miss here is the living root bridges grown over 10-15 years from the roots of rubber trees. Generations after Generations have passed on to their children the knowledge of creating these bridges by guiding the tree’s roots to grow across the river or ravine. With some as old as 500 years, each of these bridges can hold up to 50 people at the same time and can grow up to 30 meters long.

You should also visit the Double-Decker Root Bridge in Umshiang which is

“Fascinating”

What to buy

  • Cane and Bamboo handicrafts are a must buy from Cherrapunjee.
  • During the orange season, you will not only find the sweetest oranges you have ever had in your life but you can also pack in bottles of the famed orange honey.
  • Another must buy is the famed Meghalaya tea
  • Spices like cinnamon, pepper are also available in plenty if you find you’re calling in food as well.

What to Eat

The local cuisine of any place on this planet should be experienced. So devour down the pork and rice along with famed Sohra Pulao (vegetable rice).

What you must do

TREK!! TREK!! TREK!! And Trek away!!

So don’t wait and visit Cherrapunjee this tiny hamlet for that heavenly walk with the clouds and to get WET like you should!

Contributed by Travel Author Daris Abraham

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Group Adventures – Take a Tour to Europe, Asia or Africa http://www.aswetravel.com/group-adventures-top-tours-europe/ http://www.aswetravel.com/group-adventures-top-tours-europe/#comments Wed, 06 Nov 2013 17:20:42 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=45711 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Traveling is such a fun experience, why not plan a Group Adventures for some extra fun? Overseas destinations can be quite the adventure when you can include your family or your friends. Europe is a top destination for group tours, just a jump across the pond and you’re in for some amazing destinations combined with great […]

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Traveling is such a fun experience, why not plan a Group Adventures for some extra fun? Overseas destinations can be quite the adventure when you can include your family or your friends.

Europe is a top destination for group tours, just a jump across the pond and you’re in for some amazing destinations combined with great company, interesting new cultures and tons of fun activities.

If you’re about to make plans for 2014, there are some neat options and top tours to Europe offered by adventure  specialists.

Group Adventures

Here’s a few suggestions on some Group Adventures you might want to add to your bucket list:

One tour that you’ll never forget would be a visit to Israel and Jordan. You can explore Petra – the City with a Forgotten Past, also known as Red Rose City.

Because it’s situated near the Dead Sea you can enjoy spending the night at a resort hotel on the beautiful spa like mineral springs.

You and your family will be fed well and pampered while enjoying days full of adventure. Then its off to visit biblical sites in Jordan, the Jerash ruins and Moses Promised Land.

Have you always wanted to visit Africa? Take an East African safari and stay in a mobile tent camp.

You and your friends can watch the Great Migration of animals as they cross through Tanzania and Kenya plains, or take a Hemingway Safari to see the animals cross the Serengati and Masai Mara. There are many options for both group tours and independent tours, both full of outdoor adventure.

If Britain and Ireland have been on your travel list for a while, this is another tour you can consider. Some packages begin in London and go on through the country to Stratford Upon Avon where Shakespeare was born.

You can visit locations such as York Minister, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and go on to Saint Oswald’s Church. Glasgow, Dublin, Edinburgh and Belfast can also be part of your adventure while taking a ferry to these northern cities in Ireland.

Malaysia is a favorite place to visit and so full of culture and excitement.

Kuala Lumpur is such an interesting destination and is absolutely amazing with it’s busy city, shopping and crafty markets. The landscapes in this destination are simply stunning, the perfect country to have some fun adventures with your friends or family.

Climb Mount Kinabula, tour the Mulu caves, or check out Turtle Island for memories that you’ll take with you throughout a lifetime. You can also see the Cameron Highlands and even travel into Singapore while on a Malaysian tour.

It is said that variety is the spice of life, a guided tour can be a great experience.

Most services understand your need to explore and will plan out your Group Adventures. This helps you focus on having fun and making memories as well as having the freedom to explore, shop, eat and soak in a new interesting culture.

(Photo credits: 1234)

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Top Places to Visit in Manila, Philippines http://www.aswetravel.com/top-places-visit-manila/ http://www.aswetravel.com/top-places-visit-manila/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 20:24:37 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=45328 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Manila is the capital of the Philippines and offers rich history with many ancient buildings unique to the architectural design of the 16th century as well as great restaurants, nightlife and activities. Often overlooked as a travel destination, this city has much to offer, from the Manila marketplace, magnificent sunsets on the Manila Bay, ancient […]

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As We Travel - Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog

Manila is the capital of the Philippines and offers rich history with many ancient buildings unique to the architectural design of the 16th century as well as great restaurants, nightlife and activities.

Often overlooked as a travel destination, this city has much to offer, from the Manila marketplace, magnificent sunsets on the Manila Bay, ancient China Town and a bustling and culturally interesting city.

Manila is just a jump away from major cities such as Hong Kong and Tokyo, you can book flights to Manila here.

Check out this great list of the top 5 spots you just can’t miss:

San Sebastian Catholic Church

Famous for its all-steel architecture, the San Sebastian Church was built in 1891.

With two imposing spires jutting high into the sky, the church is of Gothic architectural design. Its beautiful stain glass was brought to Manila from Germany, its statues were sculpted by Eusebio Garcia.

This all steel church is the only one in Asia and is a national historic landmark.

Another unique old building, the San Augustin Catholic Church, is the oldest stone church in the country, built in 1589.

Used as a concentration camp during World War II, it is now known as the wedding capital of the world.

Divisoria Marketplace

Crowded, hot and humid, Divisoria marketplace is an experience you’ll not want to miss.

The key to an enjoyable time is to go early before the crowds arrive.

Both indoor and outdoor eateries and shops line the street and the wares are most affordable.

Another marketplace you may want to visit is Quiapo, known not only for its shops, but for its church and ebony statue depicting Christ, the Black Nazarene Statue.

During holy week and in early January you can experience their festival in the streets celebrating Jesus crucifixion and resurrection.

China Town in Binondo

Many tourists visit Binondo for its large variety of excellent Chinese restaurants.

China Town in Manila is the oldest Chinese neighborhood worldwide, established in the late 1500’s.

The history of China Town is available if you hire a tour guide while visiting the area, so take a “Binondo Food Trip” while visiting Manila.

Fort Santiago

National hero, Jose Rizal, was imprisoned here before his death by execution in the 1500’s.

You can tour Fort Santiago, Rizal Park and Paco Park by carriage or take a walking tour if you would like. Rizal wrote some of his famous anecdotes, novels and poems while living in Fort Santiago.

His memory lives on in the hearts of the people who live here.

Manila Bay

For a look at the loveliest sunsets in the world, take a dinner cruise on Manila Bay.

The best place to visit is Harbourview with restaurants and shops along the walk way.

Although many do not appreciate its beauty because of pollution, Manila Bay is a busy trade and historical center and one of the top tourist attractions in Manila.

(Photo 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

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Relax and Unwind in These 5 New Delhi Parks and Gardens http://www.aswetravel.com/relax-unwind-5-new-delhi-parks-gardens/ http://www.aswetravel.com/relax-unwind-5-new-delhi-parks-gardens/#comments Sun, 13 Oct 2013 18:28:25 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=45301 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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India’s capital city, New Delhi, contains a number of gardens and green spaces. When you begin to feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of this metropolis, retire to one of these five lovely gardens for some fresh air and outdoor fun. Titillate your senses, relax with a quiet stroll or enjoy some of the […]

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India’s capital city, New Delhi, contains a number of gardens and green spaces. When you begin to feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of this metropolis, retire to one of these five lovely gardens for some fresh air and outdoor fun.

Titillate your senses, relax with a quiet stroll or enjoy some of the attractions found in these five New Delhi parks and gardens.

5 New Delhi Parks and Gardens

The Garden of Five Senses

Located on more than eight hectares in Saidul Ajaib village, the Garden of Five Senses was inaugurated in February 2003. This garden, which was designed to incorporate features that stimulate all five of the senses, is home to several unique attractions.

 

Here, you can enjoy 200 different species of plants, including many fragrant, colourful flowers meant to excite both the eyes and the nose.

Other special features of the Garden of Five senses include its many art sculptures, its food and shopping court, its waterfalls and wind chimes, and its solar energy park. Children can ride in solar-powered miniature cars. You can also rent solar-powered bicycles.

Deer Park

As its name suggests, Deer Park is home to numerous deer. This park in South Delhi is a popular spot for jogging, walking and picnicking. The park’s deer, which include the native spotted deer or chital, live in a special enclosure where visitors can observe them.

 

Other animals living in the park include rabbits, guinea pigs, peacocks and other native birds, most of which congregate around the park’s pond.

Visitors to Deer Park can also see historical tombs dating back to the Mughal Era. The majority of the park is well-manicured, with plenty of shade trees, picnic areas, and a play area for the little ones.

Lodi Gardens

The 36.4-hectare Lodi Gardens in New Delhi are among India’s most historically valued; the gardens are under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India because they contain a number of ancient tombs and structures dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The oldest tomb in the Lodi Gardens, the tomb of Sayyid dynasty ruler Mohammed Shah, was built in 1444.

Other important structures in the gardens include the tomb of Sikander Lodi, built in 1517, the Bara Gumbad and its attached three-domed mosque, the Sheesh Gumbad and the Athpula Bridge.

Few structures from this period of Indian history remain standing today, making the Lodi Gardens one of the nation’s most valuable heritage centres.

See this website to get great deals on New Delhi hotels convenient to the Lodi Gardens.

Mughal Gardens

The Mughal Gardens can be found to the rear of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the home of the president of India. They’re open to the public during February only, but make a popular destination for outings during this time. The Mughal Gardens feature both British and Mughal landscaping styles, and are home to an impressive number of flower species.

Four channels – two flowing north to south and two flowing east to west – divide the garden into a grid. Six fountains in the shape of lotus flowers mark the intersections of these channels, and trays of bird seed are placed on special wooden platforms to feed the gardens’ avian visitors.

On the west side of the central gardens, visitors will find the Purdha Garden consisting mostly of roses, but also other fragrant flowers like jasmine. At either end of the main garden, terrace gardens grow on a slightly elevated level; each terrace garden has a sentry post and a gazebo.

The Mughal Gardens are also home to an extensive bonsai collection.

Nehru Park

Named for India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, this park occupies more than 32 hectares of land near the centre of New Delhi. Concerts are held here every Sunday morning, as is the city’s yearly Bhakti Festival.

Nehru Park is home to a swimming pool, a snack bar, and a life-sized statue of Vladimir Lenin, installed in November 1987. Members of the Communist Party of India gather here each year to celebrate Lenin’s birthday.

The best time to visit Nehru Park is in the spring, when its many beautiful flowers are blooming.

Look out for the small rocks inscribed with quotes from Nehru himself. Take advantage of the free morning yoga classes offered here. If you’re planning a holiday to New Delhi, you must consider visiting some of the city’s beautiful and historic parks and gardens. Go for a stroll, enjoy a yoga class and take in some of India’s historical architecture in one of New Delhi’s many green spaces.

(Photos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

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3 Essential Activities While on Holiday in the Maldives http://www.aswetravel.com/3-essential-activities-while-on-holiday-in-the-maldives/ http://www.aswetravel.com/3-essential-activities-while-on-holiday-in-the-maldives/#comments Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:30:36 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=44596 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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With bungalows perched on stilts above a sea as clear as bathwater, and with countless, uncrowded beaches, the Maldives are the ultimate destination for island luxury. The Maldives are made up of over 1,000 islands, 200 of them inhabited, and many of those are home to resorts.” It’s difficult to visit the Maldives on a […]

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With bungalows perched on stilts above a sea as clear as bathwater, and with countless, uncrowded beaches, the Maldives are the ultimate destination for island luxury.

The Maldives are made up of over 1,000 islands, 200 of them inhabited, and many of those are home to resorts.”

It’s difficult to visit the Maldives on a budget, but very few places can compete with the comfort and extravagance provided by a Maldives resort.

Any trip to the Maldives should include these activities:

1. Get Pampered

Almost every Maldives resort has a spa, and these spas incorporate traditional remedies from the Ayurvedic tradition as well as sand massages and coconut oil treatments.

Given the incredible beauty and remoteness of the natural surroundings, receiving a treatment here after a day of snorkeling and swimming may be quite possibly the most relaxing thing on earth.  Stressed out travelers planning their next holiday probably can’t do better to heal what ails them.

2. Play Castaway

For those who really want to get away from it all, it’s possible to visit an uninhabited island and claim it for a day. As only 200 of the islands are inhabited, that leaves more than 800 unoccupied islands to explore.

Travel there by boat and learn about traditional fishing, or take an air taxi. Safari boats allow visitors to tour multiple islands whereas it’s possible to arrange an overnight stay with a dhoni boat.

Hang up a hammock and crack open a coconut as you enjoy unparalleled solitude — excepting visits from sea turtles and other wildlife.”

3. Visit Malé

With all the resorts and tourists, it’s easy to overlook local life and customs. Remedy that with a trip to the capital city of Malé.

Shop in the markets, admire the brightly-painted buildings and mosques, and take advantage of one of the only inexpensive pleasures of the Maldives: the street food! Enjoy rich, spicy curries, the freshest of fish, and any number of deep-fried snacks.

Visitors should note that while drinking laws are relaxed for the resorts, drinking alcohol is not permitted in the capital. The National Museum is small but gives visitors a sense of the islands’ history, and is housed in the only remaining building of what was once a Sultan’s opulent palace.

Photos:  (1, 2, 3)

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Shopping Up a Storm in Shanghai http://www.aswetravel.com/shopping-up-a-storm-in-shanghai/ http://www.aswetravel.com/shopping-up-a-storm-in-shanghai/#comments Fri, 19 Jul 2013 12:00:44 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=44246 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Guest post by Sarah McWiggin:  If shopping is your thing and you can think of nothing better than spending your spare time stalking through street malls, you’ve picked the right place for a holiday. Shanghai has some of the best markets, malls and shopping streets in the world. Whether it’s jewelry, clothes, technology or food that […]

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Guest post by Sarah McWiggin:  If shopping is your thing and you can think of nothing better than spending your spare time stalking through street malls, you’ve picked the right place for a holiday.

Shanghai has some of the best markets, malls and shopping streets in the world. Whether it’s jewelry, clothes, technology or food that tickles your fancy, Shanghai will deliver.

Here is a guide to some of the best shopping experiences in Shanghai, all in close proximity to the main tourist accommodation precincts.

Nanjing Road

Nanjing Road is not only the main shopping street in Shanghai, it’s the biggest in China and one of the busiest in the world!

Located in the heart of the city, it stretches over one kilometer long.

From designer brands to knock-off goods, this shopping strip has it all!”

When you get sick of shopping, saunter down to People’s Park, smack-bang in the middle of the street. You can have lunch in the fresh air, or take a stroll through the Shanghai Museum.

Being so central, Nanjing Road is filled with a wide range of accommodation options. You can easily find Shanghai hotels close  by.

Shop here for: Everything!

Huaihai Road

If you are a lover of labels and luxury goods, you can’t beat the high-end designer stores of Huaihai Road.

The second most famous shopping street after Nanjing Road, Huaihai is the home of big-brand names including Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. as well as the boutiques.

Huaihai Road also boasts a number of large department stores.

You can make a night of it by sampling one of its many restaurants or by staying in one of the local hotels.”

Shop here for: Designer brands

Dongtai Lu Antiques Market

Dongtai Lu Antiques Market is 200 metres long and made up of approximately 100 stalls. It is packed full of vintage goodies, tasty trinkets, antique treasures and a fair bit of junk.

Patience is your friend here, and if you take the time to search through all of the clutter and knock-offs, you could be in for a pleasant surprise.”

Regardless of the quality, it’s a great place to pick up some gorgeous items for home décor purposes. Take note to haggle hard!

Shop here for: Antiques and home wares

South Yunnan Snack Street

Food, food, glorious food … almost too many options to take in! Located a 10-minute trot from People’s Square, South Yunnan Snack Street is the perfect place to satisfy a busy shopper’s hungry tum.

A cluster of restaurants, street food stalls and other eateries, this historic dining destination offers the best in Chinese cuisine.

Sample dumplings, Beijing roast duck, stuffed buns, chop rice cake and other delicious local delicacies.

Shop here for: Food in all its forms!

Cybermart

For all things electronic, look no further than Shanghai’s famous Cybermart, stocked full of every gizmo, gadget and game imaginable.

Here you will find outlets for a range of Chinese and international technology brands, including Apple, IBM, NEC, Canon and Sony.

It’s enough to satisfy the palette of even the most discerning tech-enthusiast.”

As well as being a great place to go computer crazy, Cybermart also hosts a range of phone/computer repair stalls. Perhaps it’s time to get that cracked iPad screen fixed once and for all!

Shop here for: Technology and electronics

Shanghai Yatai Clothing and Gifts Market

An Asian shopping experience in its purest form, the Shanghai Yatai Clothing and Gift Market is the perfect place to pick up cheap goodies.

Located underground near the famed Science and Technology Museum, the Yatai Clothing and Gifts Market is awash with handbags, sunglasses, wallets and watches, making it the go-to place for presents.

Bring your best bargaining shoes and don’t ever pay more than 30% of the original asking price.”

Shop here for: Souvenirs

( Photo credit 1 – 23 – 4)

About the Author: Sarah McWiggin is an Auckland-based guest blogger who was put on this earth to shop. She is a lover of local NZ designers, as well as big-name international fashion houses. Sarah spends all of her free time shopping in vintage stores, designer boutiques and street malls — wherever in the world she may be at the time! She stays at hotels she finds on Expedia.

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